is clear that Thomas Hamilton had friends
within Central Scotland Police"
STARTLING new claims that senior
police and legal figures ordered a cover-up
over the Dunblane school massacre
emerged last night.
Dr Mick North, whose daughter was murdered
in the tragedy, is to write to the Lord Advocate
[Colin Boyd], Scotland's top law
officer, with allegations that the evidence was suppressed or never
an astonishing attack, Dr Mick North branded
the original inquiry into the 1996 massacre
of 16 schoolchildren and their teacher as a "piece
of theatre" and an "exercise in damage limitation".
He said: "If it wasn't
an outright cover-up or whitewash,
it was at the very least a paint job by the establishment to brush
out some of the worst failings of a system that had allowed Thomas
Hamilton to remain free and keep his guns despite serious
allegations about his conduct."
One pupils were gunned down along with teacher Gwen Major
when Hamilton burst into the Dunblane
Primary School gym shortly after morning assembly.
Speaking days before
the eighth anniversary of the atrocity, Dr Mick North
said: "It is clear now that at the time there was a strong desire
not to undermine public confidence in the police.
"To achieve that,
questions that ought to have been asked were not raised, and witnesses
who should have been called were not heard. All the senior
lawyers were playing a role and I wonder now if they were looking
after our interests."
In the years since
the official Dunblane Inquiry chaired by
Lord Cullen, Dr North,
a retired university lecturer, has received vital information about
key witnesses who were never called to
give evidence in public.
He will write to
Lord Advocate Colin Boyd,
drawing his attention to six key points:
The failure to hear evidence from Cathleen Kerr,
a neighbour of Hamilton's who saw him
emerge from a grey-coloured car outside his home on the morning
of the shootings. The driver has never been traced.
The failure to account for Hamilton's exact
movements from the time he left his home to drive to Dunblane
Primary School - a 15-minute journey that took him
more than three-quarters of an hour.
Why an off-duty police officer was mysteriously
at the school on the morning of the shootings was never called
to give evidence.
The failure by police to identify Hamilton
as a paedophile who was almost certainly involved in supplying
photographs of virtually naked boys which he took on camps.
The failure by police to establish who Hamilton's
friends in the police were.
A number of witnesses testified that police
ars often stopped outside his home.
The failure to investigate links, revealed by three witnesses, between
Hamilton and the Queen Victoria
School, a military school at Dunblane
with a small shooting range that Hamilton
used and where it is claimed by a former teacher [Glenn
Harrison] that boys were abused.
attack came as a senior Conservative caused outrage among anti-gun
campaigners by suggesting children should be taught how to handle
firearms. Shadow homeland security minister Patrick
Mercer said a ban on handguns introduced after the Dunblane
killings had "no effect" on spiralling gun crime. He said
children in rural communities should have lessons in using non-lethal
weapons such as air rifles as a prelude
to using shotguns in later life.
Other campaigners have
already lobbied the Lord Advocate and the
Scottish Executive for a fresh Dunblane Inquiry. Some
parents believe there was a Masonic conspiracy
to protect powerful friends of Hamilton,
who were widely believed to be Freemasons.
has had misgivings about the inquiry, chaired
by Lord Cullen, now Scotland's most senior
judge since its first day of hearing evidence, but this was the first
time he has spoken of his disquiet.
He said: "I lost confidence
early in the hearing when I believe a senior police
officer lied in evidence about the time at which parents had been
told their children were dead. He brought it forward by between
an hour and 90 minutes. The only explanation I could see
was that his version made the police look
"Most parents had been
kept in the staff room until 3.30pm, about six hours after the shots
were fired, before learning their children were dead. Some
parents later came under pressure from police
officers to change the time they had given in their statements.
"It seems ridiculous
now that the Crown Office was running the show when we know that the
Central Scotland Police and the procurator
fiscal had most to hide in relation to Thomas Hamilton.
"We were dealing with
a man who had been brought
to their attention on a number of occasions, having displayed
violence and inappropriate sexual conduct with children.
"He had not been prosecuted
and was allowed to hold guns legally, yet the Crown was picking the
witnesses who'd be heard."
is also deeply unhappy about the 100-year closure order
that was made by Lord Cullen on 106 sets
of documents relevant to the killings.
He said: "Did we simply
have an over-cautious judge, or is there something sinister being
kept from the public in the documents I haven't seen?"
He said he had watched
with interest the tragic events that unfolded at Soham and been aware
of uncomfortable parallels with Dunblane.
said: "As far as I'm aware, no one at Humberside Police
was a friend of Huntley's, but their chief constable has apologised
for their failings.
"It's clear that Hamilton
had friends within Central Scotland Police,
yet William Wilson, the chief constable at the time, denied he had
anything to apologise for.
"The parents would love
to see Wilson give evidence but, like many other relevant witnesses,
he wasn't called."